LEE COUNTY

United Way is partnering with PODS to set up distribution points on Thursday. The Gifts In Kind program distributes furniture and other household items that families lost during the storm.

Many people in need come to United Way, but now United Way comes to them.

United Way is partnering with PODS and 10 local social service agencies to distribute much-needed furniture and household goods to families who have lost so much due to Hurricane Ian.

“This is the first time we’ve done this. My team tried to think outside the box and asked, “How can we get all these millions of dollars worth of donated goods to our community without having to travel far to pick them up and stuff?” So this was just an incredible way to solve this problem,” said Jeanine Joy, CEO of United Way.

PODS donated the use of five 16-foot storage containers, and United Way added five more. They are parked throughout Lee County, including hard-hit island communities.

“We have a family here, they lost everything in the storm, including mattresses. So, you know, it’s nice to know that someone is going to get a good night’s sleep tonight for the first time in months,” Joy said.

Bridget Thomas and her family were among the first to benefit from this distribution. Her home in Harlem Heights is uninhabitable.

“I’m grateful to the United Way and the people who took the time to contact me and tell them to come get this. And that’s a relief. It takes a bit of stress off me and my family would really appreciate it,” Thomas said.

Each location is locked and managed by a United Way partner agency or community partner.

Anyone in need can call the nearest point to make an appointment with the agency’s package manager to meet at the unit and collect the items. You can find out where to find the nearest location by clicking here.

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